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The top French schools continue their internationalisation

In 2013-2014, 53,899 students from top French schools went abroad as part of their training. A figure that continues to grow year on year (+ 12% compared to the 2011-2012 academic year).


This figure results from the 9th edition of the biennial survey of the “Conférence des Grandes Écoles” (a non-profit association of engineering schools, management schools and higher education institutions offering other specialities) on the international mobility of students, for the academic year 2013-2014 and published last December.

88% of members of the Conférence des Grandes Écoles responded, providing a representative view of the internationalization of schools.


This survey highlights the continued growth of international flows, and, in both directions:


• The number of foreign students in major French schools has increased by 21% in two years. Today, 23% of the total number of students in these schools, are international students. These students are evenly distributed throughout the French territory.


• The number of French students from top schools who went to study abroad also increased by 27%. Compared to the results of the previous survey, the periods of study abroad increased by more than 12% for all types of schools.


• In contrast, the number of French students who went to do an internship abroad remains relatively stable (+ 1.43%).



In 2013-14, 58,022 foreign students were hosted in major French schools and 53,899 French students of these same schools have been studying abroad.


China is the second favourite destination for French students to study abroad


The number of study trips of French students in higher education institutions abroad has progressed: 27.3% (while between the two previous investigations it was only of 8%).


• China has had the highest growth (+ 84.6%) in hosting 2,531 French students, that is to say two-thirds of the flow to the Asia-Pacific region. China is now one of the favourite countries for studying abroad, just behind the United Kingdom (2,693 students) and ahead of the United States (2,366 students) and Canada (2,317 students);


• Poland increased by 59%;


• Brazil increased by 56% and accounts for half of the growth in flows to Latin America;


• Germany reported an increase of 32%. But with smaller flows, the two “winners” of Western Europe are Portugal (+ 106%) and Ireland (+ 61%);


• Spain and the UK remained the leading countries but with small increases: + 14% and + 25% respectively.



TOP 20 of favourite destinations for French students to complete a period of study

1 – UK: 2,693 students (+25% vs 2011-12) 2 – China: 2,531 students (+84.6% vs 2011-12) 3 – United States: 2,366 students (+21% vs. 2011-12) 4 – Canada: 2,317 students (+18.8% vs 2011-12) 5 – Germany: 1,848 students (+32.6% vs 2011-12) 6 – Spain: 1,837 students (+14.7% vs ¬ 2011-12) 7 – Ireland: 660 students (+61% vs + ¬ 2011-12) 8 – Brazil: 656 students (+56% vs. 2011-12) 9 – Mexico: 628 students (+9.4% vs 2011-12) 10 – India: 537 students (+28.7% vs 2011-12) 11 – Australia: 536 students (+51% vs 2011-12) 12 – Argentina: 495 students (+17.5% vs 2011-12) 13 – South Korea: 459 students (+29% vs 2011-12) 14 – Poland: 426 students (+59% vs 2011-12) 15 – Czech Republic: 315 students (+28.5% vs 2011-12) 16 – Singapore: 306 students (+24.4% vs 2011-12) 17 – Japan: 286 students (+39.5% vs 2011-12) 18 – Portugal: 190 students (+106% vs 2011-12) 19 – Russia: 180 students (+26% vs 2011-12) 20 – Turkey: 186 students (+32% vs 2011-12)


South America becoming increasingly popular with French students for an internship 27,842 French students went abroad for internships over the academic year 2013-14, a figure that has remained fairly stable compared to the previous year (increase of less than 2%).

However, we note that management schools sent fewer students in internships abroad (- 6.17%), whereas they had posted the best improvement in the previous survey (32%).


• Western Europe remains the world most stressed region for an internship: it hosted 14,166 students in 2013-2014, half of French students (50.9%) went for an internship in this region.


• The largest increase took place in South America (+ 14%) according to the study “Increasing internships in Latin and South America is due neither to Brazil nor to Mexico to which the number of departures has not changed since the last survey, but is divided between Chile (41.8%), Peru (33%) and to a lesser extent to some unexpected countries such as Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama”.


• Conversely, the largest decreases in the number of French trainees have been observed in North America (-10% in Canada and the US) and China (-20%). The survey states that China “is clearly lower due to the change in Chinese visa regulations, which gradually banned foreign internships in China if not covered by a higher education institution Chinese”.


TOP 20 favourite destinations for French students for an internship

1 – UK: 4,166 trainees (+4% vs 2011-12) 2 – United States: 2,439 trainees (-10% vs 2011-12) 3 – Germany: 2,336 trainees (+17.68% vs 2011-12) 4 – Spain: 1,419 trainees (-18.7% vs 2011-12) 5 – China: 1,322 trainees (-20.4% vs 2011-12) 6 – Belgium: 1,313 trainees (+17.3% vs 2011-12) 7 – Canada: 1,310 trainees (-10% vs 2011-12) 8 – Australia: 887 trainees (-5.2% vs 2011-12) 9 – India: 457 trainees (-18% vs 2011-12) 10 – Italy: 424 trainees (+19.4% vs 2011-12) 11 – Japan: 367 trainees (+28.3% vs 2011-12) 12 – New Zealand: 349 trainees (stable) 13 – Brazil: 293 trainees (stable) 14 – Mexico: 288 trainees (stable) 15 – South Africa: 247 trainees (+33.5% vs 2011-12) 16 – Argentina: 224 trainees (stable) 17 – Singapore: 206 trainees (-28% vs 2011-12) 18 – Chile: 200 trainees (+41.8% vs 2011-12) 19 – Peru: 178 trainees (+32.8% vs 2011-12) 20 – United Arab Emirates: 170 trainees (18% vs 2011-12)



The survey highlights the increasing number of internships of 6 to 12 months (+ 55.8%).

The survey confirms that the lengthening of the duration of internships is a general movement for all types of schools (management and engineering): the current reform of higher education in France provides that periods of more than 6 months abroad will henceforth be part of a caesura.


Thus, almost 80% of students in top French schools spend more than 3 months abroad (studies and internships), confirming that experience abroad is one of the added values of French “Grandes Écoles” model.


Source : « Enquête mobilité 2015 : Les grandes écoles sur la scène internationale » realized by the “Conférence des Grandes Écoles”.

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